1. Mesita, Martinborough
Tucked away on a side street off Martinborough’s pleasingly symmetrical town square, you’ll find Mesita. A casual, Mexican-influenced wine bar, Mesita is run by a young couple and their old dog – Alice Bourdôt behind the bar, Hayden Gibbes in the kitchen and Sue, respectively. Order a glass of local wine and a taco pressed to order while giving the lovely Sue a scritch-scrotch behind the ears.
4. Schoc Chocolates, Greytown
In a tiny historic cottage on the outer edge of Greytown’s main street – the town’s original confectioners shop – is Schoc Chocolates in all it’s brown and orange branded glory. A boutique chocolatier, Schoc is regionally famous, with more than 80 interesting and inventive flavour combinations.
Think pink peppercorn, geranium, carrot and coriander and the slightly bizarre 'curry and pappadoms'.
Schoc was established in 2002 by Murray Langham, a former chef, qualified counsellor, author and now chocolatier who believes in the benefits of chocolate as therapy. Murray has appeared on TV to discuss the benefits of chocolate, both on the BBC and with Martha Stewart.
Looking for something with a bit of a kick? We have a great range of Chilli products here at Schoc. Three amazing tablet flavours from a 70% dark Bitter Chilli to our famous Lime Chilli, or our delicious Spiced Hot Chocolate(there's also Chilli Stirrers) and if your after a small treat we have our dark chocolate Chilli Lips and our beautiful Chilli infused ganache chocolate. Which one will you get?? #chilli #chocolate #schocchocolate #capitalschoc #chocolatelips #hotchocolate #stirrer #limechilli #bitterchilli
2. Union Square at the Martinborough Hotel.
Union Square is the recently opened restaurant in the historic Martinborough Hotel. Run by couple Nicola and Adam Newell formerly of the award-winning Zibbibo in Wellington, Union Square serves up casual but seriously impressive bistro fare. Unsurprising, considering that chef Adam has his very own Michelin star. The mushroom risotto is so good it was enough to win over my committed carnivore husband.
3. Prodigal Daughter, Greytown
Prodigal Daughter (formerly La Panchetta) is a deli and restaurant set in yet another of Greytown’s plethora of quaint historic cottages. Rustic and casual, it is very much like eating in an Italian family’s home – especially with Mia, the resident Jack Russell puppy curled up in your lap. Owner, chef and Master Charcutier Rachel Priestley makes all of the cured meat products onsite herself. Sample them with a glass of wine in the restaurant and choose a selection of charcuterie from the deli to take home.
5. Wine, Martinborough
And let’s not forget about wine – one of the main reasons that many people visit the Wairarapa region in the first place.
Martinborough is famous for stellar pinot noir and robust chardonnay from the likes of iconic vineyards Palliser Estate, Ata Rangi, Escarpment and Ngā Waka.
Visit during November to experience the annual Toast Martinborough festival. During the rest of the year, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the vinous abundance, or if your visit falls outside cellar door hours, stop in at Martinborough Wine Merchants to whet your whistle and make a plan for further vineyard exploration under the expert guidance of the staff there.